Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jinqiao 8k

Well, it has been an eventful weekend of running for me. Yesterday market the last day of the track season and so my end as long distance running coach. Our school traveled to another nearby school which hosted a meet of 8 area schools. Both boys and girls teams placed 5th, which to me was a little disappointing. However, we did have a lot of individual winners and placers and that was great. One of the girls, someone I have mentioned in previous posts, had to leave early for health reasons. She also had a soccer game the next day and was battling a cold. She did take 1st in the 3000m and I am sure she would have taken first in the 1500 and 800 as well as placing in the 400 had she been able to stay. I wonder a little bit if that would have skewed the scoring enough to bring the girls team to a 3rd place. We also had one boy break the school and probably the city HS record for 100m dash at 11:02 seconds. That is pretty darn fast. It was kind of sad to see the season end, but coaching is not over for me. On Monday I will start coaching the middle school team for a month (they have a short season) and many of the HS kids have agreed to come by and help out with the younger ones. That will be fun, and hey, there is always CC to look forward to next fall. I am pretty sure we can do much better than the previous year, just about everyone who ran last year is coming back and a year older so I think we could win 2nd or 3rd overall.

The second part of this weekend was that I ran the Jinqiao 8k on Sunday. The weather was pretty nice, but a bit hazy. Although this is Shanghai, so it is almost always hazy. I haven’t been training specifically for an 8k, basically I have been training to get 5min k’s and to just keep expanding the distance I can keep that up for. Right now I am on 13, but hope to be to 20 by the time I run my half marathon this summer. Sure would be nice to get under 2hrs for a ½.
Earlier in the week I had done practice run around the track so I could time my splits and sprints and I did an even split with a time of 38:something. I even stopped twice for a minute to drink some water and walk so that was good time. I was hoping for the 38 min mark, but being realistic races are always different and slower. Too many people and too much excitement usually slow me down. Today wasn’t much different. I forgot the start time, thinking it was 5 minutes later, and so was just getting to the back of the pack and working my way forward when the gun went off. Needless to say I was log jammed for the first k and didn’t have a good open path until 3k. At that point I was 3 minutes behind my pace. 3 minutes! I tried to keep just a little bit faster than pace and the next thing I knew I was passing the 6k mark and was just 30 seconds shy of 5 minute pace. I picked it up a bit and by the time I crossed the finish it was 39:30. Retrospectively I really wish I could have broke out more at the start, I may have gotten under 38, but 39:30 isn’t too bad and I felt like I could have kept running strong for another 2k which would have given me a decent 10k time.
I don’t know the split, but it was definitely negative and that is the first time I have been able to do that in a race as well as keeping better than 5min pace. I wasn’t as nervous either and didn’t feel as rushed as I have in the past. I guess I am learning a few things along the way.
The race itself was ok, but the t-shirts were a hideous yellow and red that made you look like a wearing ketchup and mustard. Very typical Shanghai atmosphere; traffic going the wrong way down one lane to get past runners causing traffic jams, wafts of industrial smoke filling the nostrils, fans ignoring the race demarcations and walking onto the course. However, I was surprised that no one pushed during the race even when I was in tight quarters. Chinese people are renowned among foreigners for pushing and cutting in line, but no one pushed me today (though someone did cut in line when I was waiting for a urinal pre-race). The course itself was ok, nothing special; it followed some pretty broad streets and new buildings so it was nice to have a little room and the roads were nice too, no potholes that I could see.
All in all a good day. I am glad I went and I think I came away with a decent time, even if I did look like a hotdog while doing it.
This week’s kilometers 12k intervals, 3k easy Vibrams, 8k 5min pace, 6k easy. Total 29k.


  1. Man, I would freak out if I had someone pushing me and I call out line cutters in an aggressive way. Would probably get beat up by 20 Chinese guys. Wouldn't mind reading a post on what you think that is all about, is it as simple as there are so many people so nobody thinks they will see you again in there life? Kinda a New York thing?

    It might be interesting to contact Sturgeon Bay H.S. and/or Middle School to have them email the records from back home. Maybe for motivation or just interesting for curiosity, 11.02 is fast!

    You are a brave man for posting that picture of you in the shirt, but why is everyone wearing them during the race?

  2. Yeah, I don't know. I actually brought my own shirt that wasn't horribly ugly, but when I got to the race everyone was wearing their ketchup and mustard so I just put mine on too.

    Yes, I do think its a bit of the old, "I will never see you again" idea. Also, I think Chinese people have had to be very aggressive in the past century or so and have really let that creep into all parts of life which is strange considering they are one of the Confucian societies.